BOWL BONANZA

A look at where Texas teams (and LSU) will play in bowl games

A look at where Texas teams (and LSU) will play in bowl games
Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns will face Georgia. Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The bowl games are set, and the playoffs will feature Alabama vs. Oklahoma and Clemson vs. Notre Dame. But there are also six Texas schools and LSU playing in bowl games. Here is who they play, when they play and how the matchups look:

Saturday, Dec. 15

New Mexico Bowl (2 p.m., ESPN): North Texas vs. Utah State. North Texas finished off a 9-3 season with a win over UTSA and their reward is facing a very good Utah State team that went 10-2 and just missed out making the Mountain West title game. The Mean Green will be up against it. 

Saturday, Dec. 22

Armed Forces Bowl (3:30 p.m., ESPN): Houston vs. Army. The Cougars late collapse lands them in a difficult spot against a really good Army team. The Cougars will be without Ed Oliver against a team that can run the football. No D'Eriq King, either, which will make for a tough matchup for the Cougars.

Tuesday, Dec. 26

Cheez-It Bowl (9 p.m. ESPN): TCU vs. Cal. The Horned Frogs had a dissapointing season but  won their last two to garner bowl eligibilty and will look for a decent win over an improved Cal team.

Wednesday, Dec. 27

Texas Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN) Baylor vs. Vanderbilt. The Bears had a surprising season, earning bowl eligibilty on the last week of the season. They will face a Vanderbilt team they should be able to compete with.

Monday, Dec. 31

Taxslayer Bowl (6:30 p.m., ESPN): Texas A&M vs. NC State. The Aggies get a decent matchup with NC State after an eight win debut for Jimbo Fisher. This should be a good opportunity for the Aggies.

Tuesday, Jan. 1

Fiesta Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN): LSU vs. UCF. The Tigers get to be the Group of Five team that faces UCF this year. The Golden Knights will be without their starting QB, but they still thumped Memphis without him. An intriguing matchup.

Sugar Bowl (8:45 p.m., ESPN): Texas vs. Georgia. The Longhorns get a New Year's Six bowl despite losing in the Big 12 title game, and their reward is a Georgia team that might lack motivation considering they were close to making the playoff. 

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Suns defeat Rockets, 110-105. Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images.

Phoenix All-Star Devin Booker and Houston rookie Cam Whitmore got into a minor scuffle midway through the fourth quarter Thursday night and both players were called for a technical foul.

With a couple big blocks on the ensuing possession, Suns center Jusuf Nurkic was there to back his star teammate.

Booker scored 35 points, Kevin Durant added 24 and the Suns held off the Rockets 110-105, with the teams set to meet again in Phoenix on Saturday night.

Nurkic had 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks before fouling out. His biggest moment came in the fourth, when he stuffed Whitmore twice on the possession following the scuffle, drawing huge roars from the Phoenix crowd.

“Very important — that's the team sticking together,” Booker said. “That goes a long way. That's what you need when things get tough, it gets to the thick of things and the energy is high. You want to know you have people on your team that are built like that.”

Booker scored 20 points in the first quarter to help give the Suns an 18-point lead they would never relinquish. He has scored at least 20 points in an NBA-high six quarters this season.

Three-time All-Star Bradley Beal missed his fifth straight game because of a hamstring injury.

The Suns took an 86-75 lead into the final quarter. Houston cut the advantage to six midway through the fourth, but Booker responded immediately with a 3-pointer to push the lead back to nine.

That led to the brief skirmish between Booker and Whitmore. Tempers stayed hot over the next few minutes — Houston's Alperen Sengun fouled out and then got two quick technicals, earning an ejection.

Booker hit both of the technical free throws, Nurkic followed with his two free throws from Sengun's foul, and that pushed the Suns' lead to 99-84. The Rockets would cut the lead to four with 16.9 seconds left, but Royce O'Neale hit two free throws to end the threat.

Jalen Green led Houston with 34 points. Fred VanVleet added 21. The Rockets connected on just 11 of 45 3-pointers and shot 33.3% from the field overall, which was their worst percentage of the season.

“It wasn't one of our better nights as far as guys getting open looks and making the extra pass,” Rockets coach Ime Udoka said. “We had a few guys who had it going, but a few guys who were struggling.”

Phoenix has won seven of its past 10 — and nine in a row at home — as it tries to stay in the top six of the Western Conference playoff race and avoid the play-in tournament. The sliding Rockets have lost eight of 10.

“We're getting confident in this building,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said.

Booker's big first quarter pushed the Suns to a 33-17 lead. The four-time All-Star made 8 of 10 shots from the field, including a 33-foot 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Phoenix settled for a 64-53 halftime lead. Booker had 26 points before the break while Green led Houston with 21.

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